Beset by idiot fantasies generated by a ruthless prosecution and an opponent lawyer, the unfortunate Amanda Knox is hoping for release from Italy’s dysfunctional court system next week.
UPDATE: Knox cleared 3.51pm NYC Oct 3 2011. Next question: Will the public now become more conscious of how worthless are “confessions” from frightened people who are sequestered in a windowless room with the police?
She has stewed in prison for many months after her conviction on a blatantly spurious charge of murdering her roommate with the help of her boyfriend of a week. All the good DNA evidence reportedly still points at the real culprit being Rudy Guede, a local Congolese barman who had already been convicted of the crime on the basis of strong DNA evidence, who had fled to Germany after the crime.
As a realm where systematic stupidity, official venality and human bias run rampant under an umbrella assumption of perfect rationality nothing beats the court system of the US and Italy, it appears, and for all we know every other court system in the world.
The latest outrage in the US is the difficulty a man whose innocence is proven in all the three cases where DNA was available and in two others by implication and by total lack of reliable evidence, in other words, by nothing more than an eye witness identification of the usual complete unreliability, has in getting himself completely clear of the false conviction even after he has been released from prison after 27 years, though without a full exoneration.
Cleared of Rape but Lacking Full Exoneration by John Schwartz New York Times September 24, 2011:
Now Mr. Haynesworth, 46, is asking for full exoneration on all of the rape convictions, although DNA from the other two cases is not available. But the circumstantial evidence supporting Mr. Haynesworth’s claims of innocence is so powerful that along with his own lawyers, the prosecutors from both jurisdictions where the rapes occurred support his efforts, as well as the attorney general for the commonwealth, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli.
With no one arguing against exoneration, most judges would be expected to congratulate Mr. Haynesworth on his new life, perhaps with an apology as well, and send him into daylight and freedom. But in July, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals of Virginia said, in essence, “Not so fast.” The court called for additional briefs in the case, which will be heard again on Tuesday by all of the judges of the court.
It is a move that has left legal experts astonished. “It’s very rare for a court to set a case for argument when all the parties are agreed,” said Stephen J. Schulhofer, an expert in criminal justice at New York University law school, adding that “it’s essentially unheard of” for a court to take matters into its own hands, instead of appointing a special advocate to argue on behalf of the interests that they believe are unrepresented.
These learned fellows haven’t understood the first principle of modern life, which is that however skilled they may be in their legal understanding they are mere beginners in other areas which have vital relevance to their work, and they should by now have been taught by someone how science and evidence based research has shown that eye witnesses are completely unreliable, and reasonable doubt extends far beyond the limits they previously imagined.
All others involved in the case agree that the man should be exonerated immediately, and we would add that the judges given a primer in basic research in this area.
Meanwhile Troy Davis has been executed, without any forensic evidence and with seven out of nine witnesses recanting, and with a man who was plainly the real culprit confessing.
The intercession of the Pope achieved nothing.
UPDATE: With Knox cleared, we are left to reflect that it is now and forever too late to save Davis, for lack of proper procedures in the US to prevent the vicious termination by execution of extremely doubtful cases.